STANLEY CRESCENT GARDEN COMMITTEE
54 Ladbroke Grove W11 2PB
MINUTES – GARDEN ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Tuesday 24 May 2011
The meeting held on Tuesday 24th May 2011 at 8.30 p.m. at St Peter’s Church, Kensington Park Road, London, W11 was attended by 28 residents.
1 Apologies for absence
Joe and Jane Joseph, Sir Ronald Cohen, Dr and Mrs Abrahams, Jane Garrett, Laura Bailey, John and Samantha Hunt
2 Minutes of the last meeting
Minutes of the last meeting were agreed – proposed by James Lipton and seconded by Linda Clifford.
3 Chairman’s Report
The Chairman, Sandra Kamen, said how blessed we were to live on this special garden which has such a wonderful community spirit.
The Chairman went on to announce, with great regret, the resignation of our tireless Hon Secretary, Sheila Robertson. Sheila has devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to the garden and has been personally responsible for a number of great improvements. The meeting thanked Sheila for her hard work and dedication and the residents were delighted to learn that she will remain on the garden committee. A gift and flowers were presented to Sheila by the Chairman. The meeting was informed that a replacement has been found for Sheila. Isabella Kullman has kindly agreed to take on the role as Hon Secretary with immediate effect. The duties will be divided amongst key members of the garden committee to ensure a fair distribution of tasks.
The Chairman went on to update the meeting about the health of Gordon, the gardener. Gordon recently had an operation and has been undergoing medical treatment. The meeting raised their glasses to his good health and wished him the best of luck for a quick recovery.
Gordon has been working with an assistant, Stephen, to ensure the garden is maintained to its usual high standard. The recent dry weather has posed a challenge and the irrigation system, which was kindly funded by Sir Ronald last year, has been invaluable to the gardeners. The water for the garden is now on a meter system and the gardeners no longer have to use the water from individual residents.
The greatest challenge for the garden is the tree disease. The chestnut tree near the south gate is severely afflicted with canker. This tree needs to be checked routinely and it is not certain how long it will last. The trees which have been affected by disease have been treated and the outgoing Hon Secretary, Sheila Robertson, has carried out extensive research to ensure the garden committee is doing all it can to save the trees.
There is a chance that the trees could develop immunity to the disease which would be such a wonderful outcome. It was agreed that the trees are well worth the resources and investment required to treat them.
The meeting was informed that a long range plan has been discussed with Gordon for the planting of trees in the garden to ensure the garden remains magnificent for the future. The arboriculturalist, Ian Keen, has also been asked for his advice on the best location for planting etc. It was suggested that we should also invite a landscape designer who could provide a wonderful and inspiring vision for the future of the garden. There is a very well-respected landscape designer who lives close by and is indeed a fan of the garden called Thomas Pakenham. He will be invited by Sandra Kamen to visit the garden and perhaps he may even give the committee the benefit of his wisdom without producing a hefty invoice.
It was also suggested that we work together with the other communal gardens to prepare a joint plan.
The children have shown great restraint over the winter months when ball games were not allowed due to the extremely wet weather. However the front window in the Wendy House has been kicked in twice recently and front wall damaged. This sort of vandalism is not acceptable and parents were asked to take a more active role in supervising their children to ensure that this stopped before more serious damage was done.
An inter-garden meeting was held recently which was organised by Sheila Robertson and hosted by Sandra Kamen. Representatives from 6 communal gardens in the neighbourhood attended. The meeting was very successful and provided a useful opportunity to share information on the management of communal gardens. There was a very productive exchange of ideas.
The meeting was reminded that residents are responsible for the maintenance and painting of the railings on their property. These railings are listed and it is the individual responsibility of the residents to ensure that the standard is maintained.
The plan for this year’s Summer Party was discussed and the meeting was reminded that the party is funded by donations as well as ticket sales. Whilst some residents have been extremely generous, there is still a shortfall and funds are needed. The entertainers, musicians, catering etc all have to be paid in advance and therefore the party committee needs to see more donations to ensure there is not a deficit. The party will be held on Sunday, 26th June and the committee looks forward to welcoming all residents. The fireworks party which was held on Saturday 30th October was a great success. There were even more residents with guests than ever. Sheila Robertson and Geordie Greig were warmly thanked for all their hard work. The date for this year’s fireworks party is 29th October.
Attendants of the meeting were given a copy of Minutes from the archives. It was interesting to note that although these Minutes had been written 34 years ago, the same issues were being discussed!
Finally the Chairman thanked all the members of the committee for their hard work during the year, especially James Lipton our Hon Treasurer and his excellent assistant Carla Petschek who does a lot of work on the accounts behind the scenes.
4 Treasurer’s Report
The Accounts for the year 2010/11 were presented by the Hon Treasurer, James Lipton.
He said that our year-end cash position was £36,378 of which £9,000 was building deposits and £185 of dog deposits leaving a net amount of just over £27,000. A year ago, our reserve was 8 month’s worth of expenditure, and this is largely unchanged. The year has seen increased expenditure on treatments for the precious trees. There have been two treatments, plus other tree surgery, which amounted to over £4,500 and these costs are likely to increase going forward. Legal expenditure was less this year and, due to the dry weather, less has been spent on plants. A new blower was purchased. The accounts show a positive balance of just over £4,000. This allowed us to add to our reserves.
Wages will increase this year to reflect the market price and, as well as the aforementioned tree surgery, the re-gravelling and maintenance of the paths will be a big expense as well as lawn aeration. Fortunately the last two items are usually only carried out once every three years. Due to the dry summer, the Treasurer has doubled projections for expenditure on water for the current year.
Whilst the Treasurer’s objective is to have a reserve equal to one year’s worth of expenditure, due to the financial expenditure and commitments for this year, the reserve will more likely be equivalent to under 9 month’s expenditure.
Colin Blear proposed that the accounts should be adopted and seconded by Jonathan Searle.
The Hon Treasurer expressed his appreciation for Carla Petschek who offered so much help with the treasury and management of the accounts.
5 Elections to Committee
Sandra Kamen, James Lipton, Ros Bardi and Jacqui Jenkins came up for re-election and they were duly re-elected. There were two further places on the Committee following the resignations of Tara Saglio and Gina Dafalia. Linda Clifford and John Seal were proposed and elected without dissent.
6 Any Other Business – General discussion
A proposal was made to the meeting regarding dogs on the garden. The meeting was asked to consider allowing dogs to be off their leads for four hours, though this was later reduced to two hours, each day at designated times to be under the strict control of their owners (not children, friends or staff).
Whilst it was stressed and further reiterated that the dog owners would be entirely responsible for their dogs and no problems were anticipated, there were a number of residents who did not feel that this proposal would be fair to others living on the garden.
The main objections were:
a) Dog mess
b) Noise (there are now 23 dogs on the garden)
c) Damage to the flower beds
d) There are residents who are afraid of dogs
There were a number of residents who were not prepared to give their garden over to the dogs. It was also suggested that should this proposal be put to the vote, the result could be that dogs would be banned from the garden. The issue was discussed at length and, at present, no further action will be taken.
There being no further business the meeting was closed.